Sunday, September 11, 2011

Superhero Birthday party!!!

My son just recently turned 4 years old.  He wanted a superhero birthday party.  He's switched day cares so he has his old friends and new friends plus his neighborhood friends so limiting the guest list was going to be hard.  Also the idea of the parents dropping off the kids leaving me in charge of a bunch of 4 year olds was a little terrifying.  We often do culdesac happy hours at our house and Dylan loves them and calls them "his parties" so I thought we'd do a big culdesac happy hour/superhero party so we could invite everyone and the parents would stay too. 

So I decided I was going to do primary colors with a splash of multiple superheros.  So I started making the invitations and decided it would be cool to make each kid a superhero cape.  There was about 35 kids invited though so I didn't want to go all out and spend hundreds of dollars making these so I found this video on you tube:  So it was very inexpensive to make these part of the invitation bags.  And they turned out really cute!!!

This was a back-up one that just said Super Friend in case any kids forgot theirs. 

I figured we would have about 100 people and we were going to be feeding them all dinner so my husband actually came up with the idea of individually wrapping the hamburgers/cheeseburgers and hot dogs in aluminum foil so we could put them in tubs rather than having the meat sit out- it would help keep them fresher.  So I bought some primary color tubs and made a label for each with a superhero background on the label. 
Food Tubs:)

For the silverware wrap ups I painted a shoe box red and just glued some superhero logos on the box.  The silverware was just various primary colors. 

One of my girlfriends is a wonderful cake maker so I asked her to make a superhero cake for his party and I was shocked when she showed up with this 3 tier cake but it was almost all eaten so it was a good thing.  So impressive though.  I ordered cupcakes from my favorite cupcake lady and made superhero toppers for them.  So the party was outside but I made a dessert table inside:
3 tier cake (spiderman, batman & Captain America)

Dessert Table with cupcakes (with toppers) and Cake
The party was very casual the kids were playing, parents mingling.  We did one game where we had a bunch of water balloons and the kids threw them at the "bad guys" (my husband and his friend).  It was a fun night and my son really enjoyed himself.  I was exhausted but it was worth it!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Minute to Win It Game Night

It was about the time again for the JMU2KPF crew to get together for a couples board game night.  This time we went with something a little different.  We did a Minute to Win It Challenge.  Setting it up was fun and easy.  If you go on the shows website: they show all the challenges and there are a lot that are easy to do with household items.  In the show if you don't complete the challenge in a minute you get eliminated.  Since technically a team could get eliminated after the first challenged we figured that wasn't very fun so we played like this:

- Each team picks a team member to complete the challenge for their team.
- Each team is timed and if they do not complete the task in a minute the team receives 0 points for that challenge.
- The team that completes the task in the least amount of time gets the most possible points.  For example, we had 5 teams so the best possible score for each challenge was 5 points.  So team with lowest time gets 5 points, then 4, then 3 and so on.
- At the end the team with the highest score wins (in our case- the Cushmans).

We did the following challenges:

- Going the Distance
- Baby Blockin
- A Bit Dicey
- Elephant March
- Caddy Stack
- Defying Gravity
- Breakfast Scramble
- Noodling Around

We altered some of them a bit to fit our space and equipment needs.  There are so many options that I'm sure we'll be doing this again with different challenges.  It was a really fun night.  We had 5 teams (couples- so 10 people total) which I would recommend (maybe 6 couples MAX). 

This would also be a great team building activity for corporate events and perfect for birthday parties for older kids. 









Some video to see Elephant March in action (We used solo cups instead of 2-liter bottles):

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stock the Bar Bridal Shower...

This past weekend I hosted a bridal shower for one of my dearest friends, Naomi.  She lives in New York City and decided not to register for gifts due to space.  Since you can't really ask for money we had to come up with a theme that would hopefully get her stuff that would be helpful for her wedding.  So we decided a stock the bar theme would be a good idea and we could make a game out of it.  Our friends aren't big on the bridal shower games so this one was different and fun. 

Each person who received an invitation was put into a category (Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Riesling or Chardonnay) of alcohol per the brides choice of what to serve at the wedding.  Each person was to decorate their bottle and they would be competing for best bottle against everyone in their category.  Another one of my girlfriends mom's donated perfume bottles for each of the winners- so the prizes were good.  The bottles were amazing, people got really into it which made it really fun.  One of my moms bottles won and she gave me her prize so I have a nice bottle of Burberry Brit that I'm enjoying!

The shower was cocktail-style.  I made a HUGE beverage dispenser of Sangria and we had mimosas.  The colors were black and white with a splash of turquoise.  Everyone was just mingling and hanging out- which I always find to be the most enjoyable part of the showers.  I got Naomi to walk around to each category and pick her favorite bottle.  Then we announced the winners and they got their prizes.  The weather was very cooperative so it didn't take long for the party to move to the deck.  A bottle of Patron was opened and a round of shots began.  Then one of the other bridesmaid had a great idea to go around the table and everyone say what they loved about Naomi.  It was a really fun, personal and intimate bridal shower. 

Here are some pictures of the decor, theme and details I wanted to share. 

Bridal Shower Favors (The wedding is a beach wedding)- Starfish wine stoppers

Table Set, pre-food

Mailbox for cards


Mimosa table & Oreo Truffles

The Deck Set

Rum Decorated Bottles

Chardonnay Decorated Bottles

Tequila Decorated Bottles

Shots on the deck

Mini Cupcakes

Monday, May 9, 2011

Toy Story 3 playdate

I've been really bad about blogging lately so I thought I'd do an entry today.  This month my schedule is crazy, I have a wedding coming up next weekend and then am planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party the following weekend.  To add to that my son has been invited to 6 birthday parties over the next 3 weekends.  SIX!!!  That's how is always is though- we have nothing going on and then everything happens at once.  I'm an adrenalin junkie though so I'm actually excited about it all. 

The warmer weather is coming so my sanity is creeping back- my son can play outside- whoo hoo!  The winter months I find extremely challenging to entertain him while at the same time trying to expend some of his energy.  I felt like we hadn't done anything in a while specifically for him so one weekend in March I decided I was going to arrange a playdate for him.  As a working mom I have guilt about not being able to do playdates with him or take him to the pool in the summer, so I like to go all out for him when I can.  Of course I went a little over the top but my son was so excited and he was helping me set everything up for his little buddies to come over.  He was jumping around the house and kept asking when they were coming- so I was happy to see him so happy:).

I love kids parties because no rules apply in terms of decorating.  You don't have to worry about being "tacky" or if things match perfectly.  The more of the theme you can tie in the better- it's stimulation for the kids and they LOVE it!  So we grabbed a bunch of my son's Toy Story stuff to set the mood in their "theater". 
Then it was time for the spread.  I had bought some toy story confetti, plates and napkins and made a little snack table for them.  Party City had these awesome plastic Toy Story cups for $1 each (they also have them for other themes: Batman, Superman, etc. my son now has a bunch!).  So we filled those cups with popcorn for each kid.  Then I made a bunch of PB&J's and put out some cheeseballs. 

So there were seven 3-4 year olds and the kids watched almost the entire movie before wanting to move on to something else so it was a great Saturday activity.  I also gave each kid a little present as a thank you for coming to our playdate.  They were these Toy Story 3 coloring activity things with Toy Story 3 markers.

My son totally thought it was his birthday party! After everyone left he was like "Why didn't they sing happy birthday to me with cake?"  So I explained to him that it wasn't his birthday and that for his birthday we would do something even better- so he has since been telling me about his Superhero Birthday party!  Which is still 3 months away but it's never to early to start planning:).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Throwing a Sprinkle Shower...

Etiquette tells us that's it's not proper to have a baby shower every time you're pregnant.  YES ladies, you get ONE baby shower, typically for the first born.  The only times it's acceptable to have another full blown shower is if it's a re-marriage and the first baby for the couple together.  OR if this was a 10 year later "oops thought we were done and gave away all the baby stuff".   What if you registered for all pink stuff the first time around because you were having a girl and this time you're having a boy and everything you own is pink?  The solution to this common problem is a "sprinkle".  A Sprinkle by definition is a small scale shower.  Why wouldn't we celebrate baby #2, 3 or 4?  All babies are a reason to celebrate.  So right now I'm planning a sprinkle with a few girlfriends for our friend pregnant with her 2nd. 

It's basically 5 couples and we thought since it's more intimate we would include the guys.  I know my husband is always asking why he can't come with me to these baby and bridal showers.  I think the guys feel like they miss out on something- so we're going to get onesies and make all the guys play a little "shower game" to show them just what they're missing while us women head out to these "parties".  The mom to be will have to pick a winning onesie based on the guys designs.  We'll do a little game called "Name the baby mama and daddy" where everyone will have to name the parents of the famous children pictured. 

We're doing a brunch and I started thinking of what cute things I could do to tie in the baby shower-ish theme.  I love all the do-it yourself ideas there are out there.  I'm not that good at them but I still love looking around and getting ideas.  Here are some cute ideas I found (keep in mind this sprinkle is for a baby boy):

Cute Centerpiece:

Cute Gift Idea:

Onesie cookies:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Romantic Valentines Day Beer Pong Tournament

One of my favorite things to do is host things at my house.  I love the feeling of having friends and family gathered within my walls and seeing people laugh and have a good time.  In the summer it's easy because we can use the deck and that opens up a lot more space.  The winter is a little tougher as people tend to gather in the kitchen at house parties and our kitchen isn't very big/open.  So I had told my husband that was the one thing I didn't like about our house was I didn't feel like we could have a party with that many people because it would start to feel crowded.  The only way a larger party would work at our house was if we somehow created a flow where people used our other rooms.  So we started throwing around ideas- A Texas Holdem tournament-which we still haven't done-but I plan to do eventually.  Then we talked about a beer pong tournament.  We started talking about this last January and I immediately kicked into high gear with how to do this.  My husband took care of the rules and we tossed around a few ideas of bracket style.  We quickly learned that bracket style requires a specific number of teams and it would be too difficult to get pre-committments- then what if there were no shows?  It became really complicated.  So we decided just to do pools (4 pools) and within each pool it would be a round robin to determine the top 2 teams from each pool that would advance to the final 8 single elimination bracket. 

Then came the question of how do we keep this sanitary?  Last year with the swine flu in full swing this was important as most of the people coming were parents of young kids.  So we decided for sanitary reasons and keeping our home from having beer spilled all over it we'd play with water cups.  So every team would "register" when they registered they would pay their entry fee (which would go into the winners pot) and get a clear cup with a "drink line" that would be their drinking cup.  They would also be assigned a pool at that time.  This way we could fill the pools as people came and get even numbers of teams in each pool.  We set up one pool in the living room, 1 in the garage and 2 in the basement.  Each pool had 2 tables to play on so the games would go quicker. 

Basement- 2 pools (4 tables)

On each table was a pitcher with balls, rules and a scorecard.  Prior to each game the teams would fill the pitchers so they could use that to fill their drink cups as needed throughout the game.  Although they should only need 2 balls per table we put in 4 for back-up.  Each team kept track of their own history- who they played (have to play everyone in their pool once) and whether they won or lost.  The rules were posted throughout the house (and also sent as an attachement on the email prior to the tournament) but by having a printout handy on each table- teams were able to refer to them quickly as needed.  
So last year my husband and I spent 2 weeks talking about logisitics, details, etc.  We decided since Valentine's Day was coming up we could do a Valentine's Day tournament.  Sounds Romantic?  Well most people are going to get a sitter and go do something so why not enter a competition as a couple and possibly win some money?  Last year we had 20 teams.  We just had this years tournament for this year and ended up with 23 teams!  Since last year was the 1st year there wasn't too much participation in the "Team Uniforms" but we still had some great ones... So this year we decided it would be fun to encourage that more and offer a returned entry fee for the best team Gear/Attire.  We had some great competition this year so my hubby and I didn't win BUT I think ours was the most Valentine's Day themed so I'm posting our pic:)

So our layout for the flow was great- there was nothing going on in the kitchen.  I also decided to keep all the food (light apps- since everyone had eaten dinner) in the dining room.  Since the pool in the garage and living room would be getting beer from the keg on the deck wanted to keep the kitchen as open as possible for through traffic.  People always tend to gather around the food- so by moving all the food into the dining room it helped open up the kitchen a bit.  So the night before the tournament (since I'm a little anal) I set up the dining room table and labeled the platters with where each app I was preparing would go- so it was a reminder for myself.  The day of for any event always throws you some surprises so I find it best to be as prepared and organized as possible before the actual day. 
Dining Room Table platters/labels
I know beer pong isn't the classiest or mature type of party (and a few years ago I would've thought for sure I wouldn't be having this type of party in my home) but it's fun and it really does compliment my house and creates a comfortable flow for a party of that size.  At one point I think we had almost 60-70 people in our house and I never felt crowded.  It was also a pretty easy clean up since it was kegs.  There aren't many opportunities to get kegs anymore so this is also perfect for that:).  The winners last night went home with over $300.  The runners up got their entry fees back and best attire got theirs back as well- so for some couples it was a VERY Happy Valentine's Day- a VERY Profitable one for the winners:). 

Looking forward to a nice relaxing night tomorrow night to celebrate with my valentine:)  Happy Valentine's to everyone. 

Beverage Napkins @ the BPT

Monday, January 3, 2011

Registering... ANY EVENT

Amazon wish lists were something I saw a lot of this holiday season and I think it's great.  Especially for the kids.  It's so hard to keep up with what they want/need vs. already have.  Let's be honest too parents don't want everyone getting them the biggest bulkiest item out there either.  So it's nice for people to use a wish list, just as with a wedding or baby registry. 

My girlfriend lives in NYC and is getting married in September.  She doesn't want to register because they already live together so they have everything they need and they don't have anywhere to store china or a cupcake tier.  BUT proper etiquette tells us it's inappropriate to ask for money.  So what's the solution?  I've sent this website to a few brides now and think not only for brides but birthday parties, showers, etc.  It works for any event.

So you can allocate money towards certain things.  For example, you can say POTS and PAN set and put that you want $500 towards that.  It's great because someone only looking to spend $100 can put $100 towards it and feel like they are contributing to a bigger ticket item.  Also, in the end- it's all money for the bride and groom to use with it what they want.  A lot of couples even put "Money for our Honeymoon" and people like contributing to that.  The registrant isn't limited to the specific items in a store and the purchasers can choose whatever they want to contribute to and in the end get people a gift they really want/need.

I think it's a great website and wanted to share:)